Have you ever walked into someone’s home or browsed Pinterest and been mesmerised by a room that combines wild prints and vibrant colours, plush fabrics, mixed furniture styles, unique textures and unusual artwork? If you felt drawn to the room and all of its curiosities, you probably appreciate eclectic interior design.
While it may seem like an eclectic look is anything goes and is easily achieved by mixing a bunch of your favourite things together to create one quirky, harmonious space, it’s not quite as simple as it may seem.
To create an eye-catching eclectic space that takes ordinary to extraordinary heights and looks beautiful without looking cluttered, follow these 8 key eclectic interior design rules for how to create the look in your home.
1 - Start With A Neutral Background
I know what you’re thinking… “Neutral?! Neutral? There’s nothing neutral about eclectic interior design.” Oh but there is.
The most beautiful eclectic rooms almost always have a neutral foundation.
When planning an eclectic home, it’s always a good idea to keep the wall colour simple. It will become the backdrop for everything else that goes into the room—texture, pattern, colours, furniture styles, lighting—the combination of all of these will make your room eclectic.
2 - Pick A Main Accent Colour
With your neutral colour chosen, select a main accent colour. This can be your favourite colour or the colour you’ve always imagined the space to be.
Perhaps you’ve always envisioned working in a pink office. You could choose a neutral gray wall colour with pops of fuchsia to accentuate it. Of course you can add other colours in the room as you go.
These can come in the form of bold curtains, luxuriously textured furniture, leopard pillows, etc. If you want a main colour that is dark, it will add drama and intrigue to the room, whereas lighter colours will create a more soothing environment.
Consider neutral walls with a pop of colour on the ceiling. There’s no reason your ceiling needs to be white.
An eclectic space is unconventional. That’s what makes it so appealing.
3 - Mix and Match Styles
If you love mid century modern furniture, select a few pieces and then start adding other design styles. A mid-century teak chair with orange upholstery makes for one of many striking focal points.
Maybe a modern chrome floor lamp caught your eye or there’s a vintage trunk you’d love to own. Eclectic design works when you mix and match styles.
Just remember to keep a common denominator such as a shared colour palette, theme (such as birds) or pattern (leopard for example).
You can incorporate colours, patterns and themes on cushions, tapestries, curtains, artwork or even an rug. When the main colour, theme or motif is repeated in different ways through tones and textures, you’ve done eclectic design style properly.
4 - Choose Patterns With Pizzazz
If you’ve made the decision to “go bold or go home”, don’t chicken out with the patterns. Abstract rugs or curtains with various geometric shapes, polka dots, paisley or stripes can be paired with other patterns even if they seem like complete opposites.
Mixing patterns can add a touch of whimsy to a space for an unexpected eye-pleasing outcome. Be brave. Remember that cushion covers can come off as quickly as they go on, so there’s no commitment if you pick a pattern and then change your mind.
5 - Create Gallery Walls That Mix Art With Objects
Showcase bold mid-century modern artwork with boho-chic macrame wall hangings, wood farmhouse photo frames and a tapestry from your travels.
Choose items with a shared colour, theme or motif and your eclectic space will come together nicely.
Let your imagination run wild when putting together a gallery wall of objects and artwork that speak to you and really reflect your creative side.
6 - Show Your Many Layers
A flat, boring space with nothing that jumps out at you will lack beauty. You can layer colours or textures (a knitted throw across a chenille bedspread), lighting (use ambient lighting along with accent lighting and task lighting) and fabrics (different patterns).
Among all the layers, make sure you have contrast. Combine marble with leather, steel with brick, flat weave rugs with fluffy throws.
While using contrasting items, you also need to create a sense of balance by using items with some similarities, no matter how small. For example, rattan baskets will share an organic aesthetic with bamboo blinds, a sisal rug and wicker lampshade.
7 - Make It Personal By Adding The Unexcpected
Trust your instincts. If you’ve always envisioned a bold velvet sofa in your living room, get it! Don’t let others question whether it’s a practical choice. If the only thing standing in your way of a desired purchase is the opinion of others, go velvet!
The heart of any eclectic space should be the personality of the person who uses it. Display souvenirs from your travels, vases, sculptures or an over-the-top chandelier.
If you have a large single item that you would like to give focus to, make it the focal point of the space and give it prominence on a wall or coffee table. You can use an entire collection to steal the spotlight instead, as long as you have fewer items in the room that will compete for attention.
If you’re an avid cyclist, maybe a vintage bike is at the center of your gallery wall and a worn road map figures prominently beneath the glass top of your coffee table. Bicycle patterned pillow covers would also tie in nicely.
Think of all the bold ways your personality can be reflected in your space.
8 - Don't Overdo It
Resist the urge to add too many items or too many opposing design styles. There’s a fine line between eclectic and eccentric.
Overwhelming a space with too much stuff or too many design ideas can become a visual nightmare.
Remember that giving prominence to cool, unique items means allowing them to shine individually without competing with the other quirky objects in the room.
Unify eclectic decor elements through colour and pattern on a neutral or minimally coloured backdrop and you’ve got yourself an eclectic room you’ll appreciate every time you’re in it.